Logbook #77


Jean held up the open end of the pipe to his eye and studied the surface. It was clean. Unblemished by nicks, tears or even the slightest hint of unconformity. He aimed the other open end toward the light and gently rotated the long, black cylinder. Straight as a photon’s track. His eyes never lied. He whistled to himself in admiration and said to no one in particular, “These graphene tubes are light as a feather and stay true even after suffering every resonating vibration from trucks to rockets to landers. And nary a mark. It’s a pity the construction material on Earth didn’t have the same quality.”

“Don’t get too hung up by the pipe. They don’t have interest in your pity.” chimed in Zara over the intercom. “I, on the other hand, have a decided interest in you. I want you back here soon enough. And with energy to burn too.”

Jean laughed a little louder. “Have you found any more dusty video flicks? Each time we watch one of those I want to reprogram the overhead lights to make them look like a disco ball.”

Which is exactly what he did a few weeks ago. The effect was fantastic. Both he and Zara had put on their boogie shoes and rocked the room. For a number of songs. Until Xu had walked in and uttered a very uncharacteristic expletive while at the same time quickly switching the Hab into survival mode. A mode that came with a standard, steady white light from all overhead sources. They stopped.  He and Zara felt only slightly chastened. Not repentant. They just had to be a bit more careful with their timing.

Taking his eyes off the pipe, Jean looked over at the toolset and started back into work. He was in the Haven now. And he was preparing a secondary heat distribution system. This system will contain glycol. And the glycol would transfer heat from hot areas to cool areas. Or vice versa. He didn’t need to know much more. But in actuality, he was building a very complex, efficient and maintainable energy system.

Each join of the system had a valve and a temperature sensor. Controllers ensured that leaks were immediately isolated. These same controllers worked fans that ensured that the ambient air and surface temperature inside the Haven stayed within a comfortable temperature range for people wearing simple shirt-sleeves. No hot or cold zones would ever exist.

The Haven’s internal heat generation was waste heat. Heat from people, heat from computing devices and heat from decaying food matter. As the Haven was, for the most part, insulated from the surrounding regolith and bedrock, it held a temperature with very little fluctuation. While a radiant heater could raise the temperature, not much energy from it was needed. Conduits deep into the bedrock served as a reliable heat sink should the internal heat rise too much. Though the waste heat kept things comfortable for the residents.

The colonists had even taken occasional turns at spending a few days and nights living in the Haven as a way to test the accommodations. And as a way to relax. To be apart from the others. Much as each loved the other dearly, they also liked their ‘alone’ time. Or with one other. Jean enjoyed vacationing there with Zara. It was their time together. It was brief. But it was memorable. He happily smiled on envisioning their next tryst together in the Haven. With whichever sound and light show they concocted. Thus turning their time together into very memorable hours.

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